The details of a new law on additional sanctions against Russia for its involvement in hacker attacks during the U.S. presidential election have been unveiled.
Senior U.S. Republican and Democratic senators will introduce legislation on Tuesday seeking to impose a wide range of sanctions on Russia over its cyber activities and actions in Syria and Ukraine.
The bill would impose visa bans and freeze the assets of people “who engage in significant activities undermining the cyber security of public or private infrastructure and democratic institutions” or aids such activities.
It would impose sanctions on those who engage with the Russian defense or intelligence sectors, which could affect international companies doing business with Russia. It also puts into law sanctions on Russia that President Barack Obama imposed via executive order late last month.
The bill also sets new sanctions over Ukraine and Syria, including putting into law four executive orders from the Obama administration sanctioning Russia over its actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Among other things, it would mandate sanctions on investments of $20 million or more in Russia’s ability to develop its petroleum and natural gas resources.
The measure is being introduced a day before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds its confirmation hearing for Trump’s nominee to be secretary of state, former Exxon Mobil chief executive Rex Tillerson.
On Jan. 9, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, on the basis of the Magnitsky Act, imposed sanctions against five citizens of Russia, including Russian Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin. The list also includes Andrei Lugovoi, Dmitry Kovtun, Stanislav Gordievsky and Gennady Plaksin.
On Dec. 29, Washington announced sanctions in relation to Moscow’s involvement in cyberattacks against several Russian companies, the Federal Security Service, and the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The U.S. also expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the country and announced closure of two Russia-belonging facilities in the states of New York and Maryland.
On Jan. 6, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a declassified version of a report on Russian alleged interference in the recent U.S. presidential elections. The U.S. intelligence assessed with “high confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to interfere in the election. According to the Washington version, the Russian government sought to discredit Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and create conditions for the victory of Republican Donald Trump.
In 2014, the European Union, the United States and several other countries imposed sanctions against Russia following its occupation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine. These restrictive measures were repeatedly extended and expanded. In particular, the talks on visa waiver and a new basic agreement on cooperation were suspended; several Russia’s officials were banned to travel to the EU while their assets were attached. Trade, financial, and military restrictions were introduced.
The sanctions list included a total of 151 individuals and 37 entities. The sectoral sanctions were imposed against 20 Russian financial, oil-producing and defense companies.
The Russian Federation introduced a package of retaliation restrictions against the EU, the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Norway in August 2014. The so-called counter-sanctions prohibited imports of fruit, vegetables, as well as dairy and meat products to Russia from these countries for a one-year period.